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JFH Devotionals by J.M. Farro

"Duck Dilemma" (In Times of Uncertainty)

"Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the word of his servant? Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God."
- Isaiah 50:10 NIV

Years ago, my family had what I'd call a "duck dilemma." We had hatched two wild mallard eggs that a mother duck had left on our back porch, and we delighted in raising them and caring for them. But when our duck, Lazarus, flew away after nine weeks, our other duck, Sammy, was left behind, heartbroken and lonely. Once her brother was gone, she cried every time we left her alone. After about two weeks, she began showing signs of becoming aggressive and hostile toward us. All this time, I was crying out to the Lord for His wisdom and guidance in the hope that He would show us what to do about our unhappy pet. Well-meaning friends and relatives constantly gave us all kinds of advice, which only made me more anxious about the matter. My pleas for God's direction became more desperate every day. I wanted so much to do what was best for our Sammy, but I wasn't sure what that was. I feared that if she didn't join a duck community soon, she would be left behind when her fellow ducks migrated down South for the winter.

Each day, we took her outside and gave her the opportunity to fly away, but each time, she came back to us. Finally, about the third week, my husband and I took Sammy to a nearby pond and tried to coax her into joining the other ducks there. When she showed no interest in leaving our side, we gave up and took her back home with us. After that, everyone we spoke to about it said that we had been "imprinted" on Sam, and she was not likely to ever fly away and live a normal life in the wild. Fear really gripped me then, but I continued to seek God's answer to the problem. Three days later, when I took Sammy outside for her usual afternoon playtime, she spread her wings and flew away, never looking back. Though my family and I were crushed, we praised and thanked the Lord that both of our beloved ducks were living the life we were sure He had destined them for.

The Lord used this experience to remind me that no matter how devoted to Him we are, there will be times when He allows us to "walk in the dark" with "no light" so that we can learn to "trust" and "rely" on Him, the way the verse above instructs. If we don't, Satan will easily steer us in the wrong direction. One of the ways he does this is to put people in our path who will give us advice contrary to God's will for us. Proverbs 29:25 NLT says, "Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but to trust the Lord means safety." When I began listening to all the seemingly logical advice that my friends and family were giving me about Sam, I began getting confused, fearful and anxious. In this state, it became more difficult for me to hear the Lord's "still small voice." (1 Kings 19:12) As I took a"What do YOU say about it, Lord?"--kind of approach to the dilemma, a new sense of peace and confidence arose in me. During my weeks of uncertainty, I realized how important it was for me to ignore words of doubt from others. At first, each time someone said they didn't believe Sam would ever fly away or live a normal life in the wild, I was tempted to become paralyzed with fear. But as I recalled Gods promises to do the impossible on my behalf, I was able to resist those fears, and stand firm in the knowledge that the Lord would make a way where there seemed to be none.

Another thing I discovered is the danger of trying to make something happen outside of God's will and timing. When I took Sammy to the pond and tried to convince her to leave us that day, I was not acting on the Lord's wisdom, and that's why my efforts were fruitless. If I had just had more trust in God, and a stronger belief in His desire to guide me, I could have saved myself a lot of trouble and anxiety, especially since the problem would be resolved only three days later. Often in these situations, I have found that as we seek God's will for us daily through prayer and the reading of His Word, He will eventually begin shedding some light on the direction He wants us to take. It's then that we can come into agreement with the specifics of His plan for us, and begin praying for them to come to pass. As I sought the Lord daily, I came to believe that it was His will for Sam to fly off on her own. From then on, I began to earnestly pray that she would do that at the right time, in the right way. When she finally did, I had a profound peace about it, even though I was saddened by the loss. If you're in a place of uncertainty today, rest assured that as you trust in the Lord and rely on Him completely, He will turn the darkness before you into light! (Isaiah 42:16 NIV)

Prayer: Lord, in times of uncertainty, help me to rely on You and Your Word, and not on myself or others. Protect me from fear, confusion and anxiety. Thank You that as I seek and trust in You, You will direct me and crown my efforts with success! (Proverbs 3:5-6 TLB)

- J. M. Farro


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